Friday, 14 March 2014

Last Day Success...

Last day of the season, for me anyway, for this season I’ll be hanging up my coarse fishing rods, packing away the creels and for three months I’ll spend any fishing time chasing bass in the creeks and harbours local to me. It feels good too, to let the rivers and lakes I love heal themselves after nine months of constant pressure. So today was originally going to be spent fishing a river with a good friend, but at the final minute the trip fell through and I had to make other arrangements. 

Right up till this morning I still wasn’t sure where I was actually going to fish. I thought about Waggoners, I thought about the clear pond I’ve been fishing for big perch and dark scaly beasts, but with a cold and foggy morning I opted not to travel too far, thinking that it wouldn’t be until the afternoon when the sun shows its face that I’d get any action. So Tithe barn was settled upon, and after a quick visit to Tesco for bait and Handsfords for hooks I made my way to the venue through an extremely misty Fareham. 

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I couldn’t see from one end of the ponds to the other such was the thickness of the fog, and it felt very cold with it. The first pond had a fellow angling the far corner, so I left him to it. The middle pool was devoid of anglers, but the surface (what I could see if it) looked deathly still. When I got to the top of the top pond and scanned the weed I saw a couple of pieces starting to move, the carp were stirring. 

I set up the 10ft Sharpes Cane Stalker, added a Mitchell 300 and a size 4 hook was about as complicated as the rig was going to be. On went a chink of tin loaf and with a quick dip in the margin I hoofed it out as far as I could, which landed with a plop about 15 yards out. That cast was wayward and went the right distance but in the wrong direction. I quickly wound in, cast back out and this time got it spot on. I gently teased the crust back to where the fish stuck its nose out and waited, and waited, the fish had obviously moved on. 

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I stood watching for a while but it went quiet. I walked the rest of the pool looking at all the likely spots but the fog seemed to be slowing things down. I decided after an hour of searching to have a drink from the flask and revisit the middle pool. On the swim opposite the island I spotted movement in the weed just a few rod lengths out. There were a handful of fish visible all working the weed trying to sniff out some breakfast. With a chunk of soggy crust on my hook it was just a case of which fish to cast at. 

One particular snout looked to be quite substantial, visibility still wasn’t great but I could certainly make out carp noses pushing up through the weed, which still hasn’t died off since last year and is still top to bottom. The cast I made hit the channel on the other side of the weed; I drew in back gently but too far as it dropped into the channel my side of the weed. I thought for a second about winding in and trying again but the carp came out of the weed, through the channel and after a few seconds under the crust moved forward and sucked it in. 

I knew from the off it was a hefty fish, very powerful were the lunges but by keeping it on the move I avoided letting it get stuck fast in the weed. Surprisingly it was ready for the net quite quickly, for which I was very thankful, and upon netting it she came to life beating the hell out of me on the bank. A wonderfully framed fish a little over 25lb who behaved tremendously for the self takes. I released her and dipped back into my flask. 

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With the day made I fished on with much less urgency. If the day had ended right there it would still have been a success, but minute by minute the fog lifted a little more and the sun finally started to shine through the haze warming the morning nicely. I revisited the top pond hoping the carp there would have woken up a tad, but all was as quiet as before. On the way back I spotted a carp in a weed gap through a small stalking gap that occasionally works for me. I cast the crust, drew it back and with no hesitation the carp took the bait down, I watched as the line crept across the surface, struck and was puzzled as all that came back was a bare hook. 

Back on the middle pond I spotted from my earlier pitch two carp swim towards the inlet in the far corner. With net, bread and rod in hand I tiptoed round to investigate and saw the two fish join three others. I threw out four small crusts to see their reaction; one common came up twice but turned away both times. As the shoal moved a lone mirror happened upon the free offerings and swiftly gobbled down two crusts. I quickly attached a chuck, swung it in the carp’s path and after one more freebie disappeared the hook bait was taken. 

In the water the carp looked a scraper double, which was very confusing as once it was hooked it doubled in size and gave me a right old run-around. Thankfully there is no weed in this corner, it’s usually stuffed with pads, but they aren’t up yet, so I had plenty of room to play the fish out and gradually draw her closer and closer to the awaiting net. She glided in nicely and took quite some lifting ashore. I half expected another twenty, but the needle settle a few ounces over 19lbs. Another corker of a carp, I was over the moon!

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Soon after I had lunch which consisted of cheese and pickle sandwiches. Whilst enjoying lunch and the day I removed my jacket, the sun had really started to get warm and I was licking my lips at the thought of just how good the afternoon would be. Unfortunately the second half of the day never lived up to expectations, but I couldn’t complain, I’d already had a day to remember. I did have one more chance, at the opposite end of the pool where another area usually covered in pads had a handful of fish cruising around. Most fish were low in the water, but an immaculate fully scaled mirror was milling around looking well up for a crust. I cast too close to the fish and spooked it, and that was my final chance gone. 

It was around 5pm when I packed away and loaded the car for the journey home. The temperature had started to drop and the fog returned. I closed the gate behind me and closed the door on another season, only this time I’ll not angle for carp, crucians or tench throughout spring. I’m sure it will be hard at times, especially on nice days, but spinning for bass is a challenge I’ve been meaning to take on for a while, and this year I’ll get to remedy that.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how you do it Stu, it must be your after shave :o)